From the outset, Signac's landscapes depicted semi-industrial subjects — a choice that followed naturally from his family's move to Asnieres in 1880. The unimposing urban scene depicted in this painting was also only a short distance from the working-class leisure island of Grande-Jatte, the setting for Seurat's enormous and best-known canvas, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande –Jatte (Art Institute of Chicago), which had also been exhibited in the final Impressionist exhibition of 1886.
The contradiction inherent in Signac's luminous depiction of a decidedly grubby subject was remarked upon by Felix Fendon, a firm supporter of the artist's work, in an influential review in La Vogue:
Paul Signac is drawn to suburban landscapes, which he interprets in an individual and penetrating manner. The works that date from this very year are painted according to divisions of tone; they achieve a frenetic intensity of light: Gasometers at Clichy with its work pants and jackets drying on fence palings, its desolate peeling walls, its burned-brown grass and incandescent roofs beneath a blinding sky, gains momentum as the eye rises, and loses itself in an abyss of blinding blue' (Felix Feneon, 'Les Impressionnistes', La Vogue, 13-20 June 1886).
Signac's paintings of industrial views have often been equated with his support of anarchist and socialist politics. The subversive nature of his urban landscapes lies in the manner in which they depict the polluted locales of working-class outer Paris, that were seldom visited by wealthy Parisian socialites.
Text by Dr Ted Gott from The Allure of Light, Turner to Cézanne: European Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Victoria, Christchurch Art Gallery, Christchurch, 2003, p. 32.